Russia and Estonia sign border treaty after 20 year dispute
(19 February 2014)
Russia and Estonia have signed a treaty setting out the position of their joint border, settling both land and maritime boundaries. The border agreement comes 20 years after Estonia gained independence from the Soviet Union, being the last nation state to formalize its border with Russia.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov joined Urmas Paet, Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs, in Moscow to complete the agreement. The treaty is yet to be officially ratified by the governments of both states.
Foreign Minister Lavrov commented, “I am sure this will strengthen the atmosphere of trust and cooperation”. He further stated the treaty is an “important step, rather than a pure formality”. Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, celebrated the news as a “strategic and far-reaching decision”, while Estonia’s Foreign Minister Paet commented, “I don’t think that between neighbours we should have such long pauses because we must talk about difficult issues”.
It is reported that approximately 15% of Estonia’s trade is with Russia, and the two countries also exchange large numbers of tourists. Professor Andres Kasekamp at the University of Tartu, Estonia, stated, “The good news in Russia-Estonian relations over the past few years is the growing economic activity between the two”. US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki commented, “We view the agreement as a positive development and sign of a productive relationship between the two countries. We look forward to the treaty’s ratification and implementation”.
Estonia was occupied by Soviet Forces in 1940-1941, and again from 1944 to its independence in 1991. Both nations signed a border treaty in 2005 but its implementation was subsequently frozen due to disagreements over ratification documentations between the two parliaments.
“Russia finally signs border treaty with Estonia”, Washington Post, 18th February 2014. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/russia-signs-border-treaty-with-estonia/2014/02/18/5a24774c-9881-11e3-ae45-458927ccedb6_story.html.
“After 20 years, Russia and Estonia sign border treaty”, Reuters, 18th February 2014. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/18/us-russia-estonia-idUSBREA1H0QN20140218.
“US welcomes Russia-Estonia border agreement”, RIA Novosti, 19th February 2014. http://en.ria.ru/russia/20140219/187677069/US-Welcomes-Russia-Estonia-Border-Agreement.html.